Whenever you are trying to create something amazing (an experience for your clients, great images or a great management system), repetition becomes the key to accomplishment.
Experiential Business Practices
Whenever you are setting out to create an awesome experience for your client, it does not matter how amazing it is IF the client is expecting something else.
Example: You want to under-promise and over-deliver on the turn-around time of your images. You know that if you turn them around WAY faster then they are EXPECTING, they will be on cloud nine and love you till the day you die (and promote your business until then). But, if they don’t have the correct EXPECTATIONS, then it will not matter one iota. If you turn the images around in 48 hours, but the client calls wondering where they are the next day (and they have called us the next day!), then you have already not met their expectations and you leave them feeling unfulfilled.
They key is REPETITION!
We tell the client when we book them it will be 90 days maximum before the images are done from the wedding. We tell them after the final details meeting it will be 90 days. We send them email the day after the wedding telling them it will be 90 days. We tell them, tell them again then remind them of what we told them. It seems like we tell them allot, but this ensures that they know what to expect, and then WHEN we turn the images around faster, they are guaranteed to be stoked! Repetition Creates Clarity.
Systemized Mangagement Practices
Having easily repeatable processes in the management of your business is another key to clarity. Do you ever feel overwhelmed and like you are not sure what to do next? You need some serious systems to solve that problem! Michael Gerber has an amazing book called the E-Myth that teaches you how to run your business like a franchise. Anything you do in the management of your business (blog posts, editing, finances, scheduling and so forth) that have more than ONE step in the process, NEEDS to have a specific written down system with a checklist. Once you do that, then ANYONE can come into your business, follow the directions of the next project and get it done efficiently. Confusion creates chaos and systems create clarity.
Systemized Photography Practices?
Yes! Photography is a combination of Science and Artistic Impression (science is art in and of itself). What that means is there are rules and the ability to break them. IF we use the rules to lay our foundation, then create our own artistic impression around that SYSTEM, we will have repeatable results. When we can repeat success over and over again and always create beautiful images each time we shoot, then we service our clients the way they should be serviced; with an amazing product!
An example of a Systemizing your Photography: Every time I give my camera 18% grey light that is also hitting my subject and insert that reading, I get natural color. The camera is designed to read 18% grey and when it gets that grey, it gives me the desired result. Now, in post, if I want to warm that tone up and CREATE my artistic impression with that look, I can do it each and every time. It is repeatable because of the system (or science) of photography and then gets even more creative with what I do next.
This allows me to please my clients by producing quality work each and every time by simply following the system, then being creative around that scientific process! Repetition of the process (the system) creates clarity for my images. They come out the way I want and I have complete confidence when I step out to shoot.
In the image above shot back in early 2008, I overpowered the sun by 2 stops and put my flash at 30 degrees camera right and got the above result. I have now done that thousands of times on other shoots and each time I get the repeatable results that I am looking for. The repetition of the system creates clarity in my work.
Your homework this week is to take one area of your business that frustrates you, and create a system that works to help you achieve clarity in your business. What is the area that is lacking the most?
Post a comment below and share with us what area of your business is in desperate need of a great system, OR what area of your business HAS a great system and why it WORKS for you! 20,000 photographers read this blog each and every month, so this is your chance to take advantage of this audience and become a leader by teaching us how you do what you do! We want to hear from you and so MANY others!
(photography tips and tricks)